The West Indian-American Day Parade may have cornered the market on awkward synchronized mayoral dancing, but the real party got started about 10 hours earlier, when the J’Ouvert festival marched through Brooklyn. The annual early morning Carnival officially got underway around 4:30 a.m. from Grand Army Plaza, although people were already out partying starting around midnight.
In case you're a bit fuzzy on what J'Ouvert is, it's the "predawn, precarnival procession that features hand-pushed racks of nonamplified steel bands and other percussionist instruments, masqueraders wearing in oil, mud, powder and paint and revelers satirically costumed to mock celebrities and VIPS." Tens of thousands of people turned up for the festivities, which stretched across the entire length of Flatbush Avenue.
There was some controversy this year for the festival, which is run separately from the West Indian American Day Parade, due to charges of money mismanagement. There was also at least one person killed and four people shot early in the morning before the official start.